Seasonal Produce: What to Make and Where to Find Them
When it comes to being more sustainable with the food and produce we buy, that doesn’t just mean avoiding plastic and using your own shopping bags. There are grocery tactics you can use that won’t just make your weekly shop greener, but also help it to taste better.
Shopping for seasonal produce means only buying what naturally grows in your area at that time of year. Nowadays, industrial farmers and supermarket providers are able to grow produce all year round, or can import produce from around the world.
The energy it takes to grow and transport fruit, veg, meat, poultry, and other items in unnatural conditions boosts their carbon footprint massively. You can bring down your carbon footprint by learning how to shop seasonally.
How to know what produce is seasonal
To know what’s on offer in Western/Northern Europe, here’s a handy chart that clearly shows what fruit and vegetables are available at different times of the year. As you can see, at any time of year, there’s plenty of choice.
If you can’t find a similar resource for your region online, then turn to the local experts: the farmers, grocers, and market sellers. Anyone who sells locally-sourced, fresh produce will likely be growing seasonal produce, because that’s what does best in your climate. They will be able to advise you on what’s best to try out. If you strike up a good relationship with them, they might even drop some hints about what’s coming soon.
The biggest advantages of shopping seasonal, aside from the environmental impact, is that your food will inevitably taste better. Have you ever eaten a strawberry in the dead of winter and thought it tasted bland and watery? That’s because strawberries are a summer fruit, harvested at their best in the warmer months.
Summer seasonal recipes for Berlin
Right now, it’s June here in Berlin. To help you get started with buying and eating seasonal produce, we thought we would suggest some of our favourite recipes using items that are perfect for harvesting in June.
Sweet peppers, radishes, and leafy green lettuces are all just coming into their prime time right now, which sounds like the ideal recipe for a crunchy salad to me. Wash your fresh veg carefully, then remove the core and stem from the sweet peppers and slice up both the peppers and the radishes.
Roughly rip the lettuce leaves into halves or thirds, keeping the chunks quite large. Use these leaves as the base for your salad and place them in a large bowl.
Put the other chopped veg into a smaller bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix together two teaspoons of wholegrain mustard with two teaspoons of honey and the juice of one lemon. Once fully mixed, gradually stir in six tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
This dressing goes perfectly with the crisp taste of the pepper and radishes. Pour it into the bowl with the chopped veg and toss well so that they are all well covered. Shake over your lettuce leaves in the bigger bowl and you’re ready to serve!
Where to buy your seasonal produce
Now that you’re probably hungry and keen to find some seasonal food for yourself, you might be wondering where is best to look. Of course, you can simply check out what’s fresh right now and buy it from your regular supermarket, but the best producers will be your friends we met earlier: those selling at farmers markets and fresh food stalls.
That way, you know that you’re also shopping local and supporting local businesses. You never know how far the food in your supermarket has travelled, but if you know the farmer has come in from an hour outside of your city, that’s a good indicator that his food has travelled the same distance!
We’ve already got a ton of food experts and sustainable culinary masters coming along to speak at the Zero Waste Berlin Festival in September – will we be seeing you there?
Tickets are currently available to buy here, so make sure you secure your space alongside like-minded professionals, entrepreneurs, and activists on September 17-19. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!